Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

South Indian pictorial tradition has an effect on people's everyday lives

31.03.2009
Using a South Indian pictorial tradition as an example, the researcher Anna Laine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, examines different approaches to images and their capacity to influence people's lives and cultural conceptions.

The images, kolams, have an effect on people's states of mind and they mark the passage of life and the rhythm of the year.

The production of the images also accommodates individual experimentation, particularly on ceremonial occasions when the images are enlarged and more complex, says Anna Laine, who will be publicly defending her thesis in social anthropology at the University of Gothenburg

Every day before sunrise and sunset women in the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu draw geometric pictures, kolams, on the streets in front of the entrances to their homes. They thereby invite in deities in order to bring their family happiness and prosperity. The kolam makes the image of the home complete, both as a material object and as an inner cultural conception.

- Kolams are central to how people relate to and interact with each other and their environment. Drawing kolams is something that most girls learn at a young age. When they marry it becomes a part of their daily domestic chores. Through the continual recreation they are constructed as feminine beings, according to Anna Laine.

The creation of social relations

The thesis analyses kolam partly as a creative process partly as a material object. The aim is to contribute to extending anthropological approaches to and understanding of images, aesthetics and artistic practice. Images as co-participants in the creation of social relations is a central aspect in the thesis.

The images do not simply articulate or mirror cultural conditions, but also contribute to the way in which people relate to the world.

In line with other contemporary anthropologists who focus on visual aspects of culture (and conceptions within Hindu philosophy) the thesis emphasizes the close connection that exists between seeing and our other senses. Aesthetics are discussed as a multisensorial experience rooted in people's everyday lives. Different perceptions of kolam reveal that its aesthetic varies locally and also over time.

Processes of iconographic change take place through interplay between individuals and cultural norms. Despite certain formal aspects, the room for personal experimentation means that the execution of kolams can be defined as artistic representation.

One year's field work

The material for the thesis was collected during one year's field work in Tamilnadu, followed by shorter annual visits. The study has been conducted in both urban and rural areas and among people of different caste and class affiliations. Photography has been used as a method in addition to participant observation. A significant proportion of the presentation consists of photographic essays that relate thematically to the written chapters.

- This experimentation with the ambivalence of images, as with the relationship between image and text, comprises an important part of the thesis.

- Prior to my academic education I worked practically with images in various ways. It is partly this background that has led to my specific interest in kolams. What I have learnt practically from the experience of making kolams myself during the field work has been an important element in my understanding and in general I consider that a practice-based method represents an important supplement to those that are verbal and text-based, says Anna Laine.

Title of the thesis: In Conversation with the Kolam Practice: Auspiciousness and Artistic
Experiences among Women in Tamilnadu, South India.
E-link: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19290
Author of the thesis: Anna Laine, e-mail: anna.laine@globalstudies.gu.se
The thesis was successfully defended on 28 March at 10.15, Aulan, Annedalseminariet, Seminariegat.1A Gothenburg, Sweden.

Faculty opponent: Dr. Amanda Ravetz, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

BY: Lena Olson
lena.olson @samfak.gu.se
+46 (0)31 786 4841

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19290
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>